76% of Michigan restaurant workers are out of work due to the coronavirus, according to report


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The coronavirus and the economic shut-down to stop its spread have had a massive impact on Michigan's restaurant and bar employees, according to a new report.

The report, from the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA), found that an estimated 76% of Michigan's bar and restaurant employees, or more than 249,000 people, are out of work since the crisis started in March.

Additionally, 55% of restaurants have closed, with 53% temporarily and 2% permanently. (Another 4% said they would likely be closing permanently in the next month.) Meanwhile, 96% of restaurant operators reported lower sales in the first 10 days of April compared with last year, with an average decline in sales of 77%. The MRLA estimates the state's restaurants will lose $1.2 billion in sales in April — more than double the losses for March.

“The prolonged closure of Michigan’s economy, while challenging for us all, has taken a particularly heavy toll on the state’s hospitality industry, which continues to suffer untenable losses,” MRLA President & CEO Justin Winslow said in an emailed statement to the Detroit Free Press. “Collectively, we are 18,000 private businesses that employ one in eight Michiganders and generate nearly 10% of the state’s revenue. The hospitality industry is simply too big to fail in Michigan."

On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced she would likely extend Michigan's stay-at-home order as the virus continues to ravage the state, though she has not yet said for how long. Michigan has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the nation.

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